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Who is the person behind the role?

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Giving candidates a glimpse of their future at your organisation is vital when structuring recruitment processes. This was shown at a recent Talent Bites event, run by Havas People, which analysed innovative strategies. Does your recruitment process need to change? Emily Sexton-Brown finds out.


Big data is on the rise. With it comes the opportunity for companies to understand potential employees. Adapted marketing helps hand-pick engaged talent that will be an asset and fuel growth throughout your organisation.

Why have personalised cups from Starbucks become the norm? People want personalisation.

DOES THE CANDIDATE MATCH THE JOB? Rachel Humpherson, interim HR director at Action for Children, previously worked at Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) as its interim HR director. She described how the organisation implemented a new recruitment strategy as 50% of new starters would leave within 18 months. Humpherson recalled a previous employee who had entrepreneurial aspirations and, within six months, outgrew the role. There had to be a system to assess how long candidates would realistically stay for.

A process was introduced, starting with a telephone behavioural test. A personal career anchor questionnaire was used to evaluate if the job was what the candidate wanted. Then a role play using real RSA situations was held, before hiring. She explained that unsuccessful candidates who showed potential during the recruiting process were invited for another interview after reflecting on feedback. It allowed for personal development, and helped managers to recognise what positive personal development looks like.

PERSONALISE AT AN EARLY STAGE. Bespoke gamification is the basis of Plotr, a career advice platform that engages with young people. Jim Carrick-Birtwell, Plotr CEO, said it is a game that asks questions around the personal interests of 11 to 24-year-olds, with results determining users’ possible career paths.

Drawing on the McKinsey Education to Employment 2012 white paper, it was apparent employers were struggling to find the right skill sets and highlighted the need for young people and parents to be educated about future opportunities.

Carrick-Birtwell asked: “Are young people interested in their future?” He posed the question because, historically, data has not excited young people sufficiently to kick-start their career. He concluded the answer was to engage with this future generation.

“Young people need to know how to progress in a business. Show them what direction to go in to become a vice-president, for instance”

TALK TO THE INDIVIDUAL “Imagine you are writing copy for one person, because no matter how many people are reading it, they are all individual,” said Iain Munro, account director at the creative agency ais London. Munro shared a project he worked on with Waitrose. He said: “It’s no surprise supermarkets are getting more competitive. We needed to devise a strategy steering away from ‘zombie shoppers’, making the experience personal to each.”

They designed a campaign called ‘pick your own’, allowing customers to choose their own deals after points were collected on myWaitrose loyalty cards.

Munro said the average shopper has four to five loyalty cards, which is a contradiction in itself – how can you be loyal to numerous shops? You need to give each a reason to be loyal.

The campaign resulted in 15% of Waitrose store transactions coming from the ‘pick your own’ concept, which began in June 2015 – 700,000 have signed up.

“Gone are the days when you have one advert that encourages everyone to go out and buy that product, people want personal”

GET CONNECTED WITH BESPOKE MARKETING Matthew Forrester, client partner at Facebook, discussed personalised marketing through the social media giant’s eyes.

He said: “There are seven million mobile phones in the world, more than toothbrushes,” which indicates how susceptible people are to marketing.

Facebook’s mission statement is “make the world more open and connected”, which it has arguably done with its 1.49 billion users, all having personalised adverts in their newsfeed.

“Gone are the days when you have one advert that encourages everyone to go and buy that product, people want personal,” he said. Forrester expanded on other successful companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, and asked whether their success could be reflected by how highly they value personalisation.

Forrester used the phrase “everything around me”, while demonstrating the Coca-Cola initiative selling named bottles.

A NEW CANDIDATE JOURNEY The last speaker was Jameel Amini, head of digital strategy at Havas People. He touched on the success of Google and Netflix and asked how this could be conveyed to recruitment.

Amini added: “Candidates are becoming more demanding; they want to know... do your values fit mine? And what, as a company, can you do for me?”

He said: “What excites your candidate? Do they like extreme sports? If so, could this run in parallel with a high-pressure job?” Amini encouraged employers to delve deeper and use candidates’ interests as tools.

Emily  Sexton-Brown

By Emily Sexton-Brown

Emily is the commissioning editor at Changeboard

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